How to save money on pet costs

c92f0d075a5e4ddf8de6ab881bff3cd1A month after getting married, my husband and I inherited our pup from a family friend. Essentially, he’s always been a member of our family. When my husband would work 24-hour shifts, Bentley is the one who would keep me company.

So there’s really very little I wouldn’t do for my dog and I always want the best for him.

But when you’re on a budget, you really have to establish the fine line between going overboard on pet expenses and being able to still meet your financial goals. I guess it’s good prep work for having kids, huh?

Here are some tips on how to save money on pet costs:

Research your pet’s food: If you’re anything like me, you want the latest and greatest for your dog. For a while, my husband and I were splurging $80 a bag on pet food that would last about a month. With such a big hit to our tiny budget, we had to find an alternative that would offer the same great substance without breaking the bank. What my research showed is that Costco actually created a similar type of food, with the same kind of ingredients. Making the switch has saved us $100 every two months, or $600 a year—and my dog LOVES his new food.

Trade vacation care: Chances are you have friends with pets as well. Have you ever considered doing a vacation care swap? For short weekend or overnight trips, I often trade pet care with friends. It isn’t that much more of a burden to have two dogs instead of one, and it really helps save some money, since boarding a pet can be very expensive!

Exercise daily: Take your dog on walks and don’t feed them any extra food. By keeping tabs of your pet’s fitness and health, you’ll help avoid as much as possible any unwanted vet bills.

Shop online: Big market pet stores often have a huge mark-up on pet supplies. Shop online to find the best deals on all your animal needs, such as leashes, pet bowls, and everything else you might need to set up shop. Better yet, scour Craigslist for any ex-pet owners who are trying to get rid of their stuff.

Groom your dog yourself: Back when we were trying to save money any way we could, we took our dog to the groomer every other month, and gave him baths ourselves in between grooming visits. With our dog’s thick coat, he really does need to see a professional groomer and we’re glad we can afford it now, but it was definitely a money saver to bathe him ourselves.

Having a pet is a big responsibility and it also comes with a lot of financial obligations. Most pets are members of the family, and are worth every single penny—but that doesn’t mean you can’t save money on their costs as well!